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Igbo presidency must be based on competence, not politics

In his new book titled “There was a country – a personal history of Biafra”, the late literary genius, Chinua Achebe gave a glowing praise of the Igbo people and their crave for excellence.  He described the Igbo people as determined to succeed but balanced it with the identification of loudness and self-centeredness as key weaknesses of an average Igbo man. But in reality, the loudness and self-centredness is a general attribute of most Nigerian politicians, not only the Igbos and unfortunately, these politicians rarely display the attribute of craving for excellence or the determination to succeed administratively. Rather, they are only interested in winning elections at all cost; regardless of the wishes of the electorates. If the country could get leaders that crave for excellence to govern this country, it would be a real breath of fresh air.


Marginalisation argument is no more relevant  

After the civil war of the late 1960’s, the pace of re-integrating the Igbo people back into Nigeria was slower than anticipated by the erstwhile Biafran’s. They continuously criticized successive central governments of marginalisation. They complained of nepotism and unequal power sharing. While this argument would be tenable during the military regimes of 1970s, it is definitely not so afterwards. The Igbos have been occupying strong positions in government in the later years. Apart from an Igbo man being Vice President during the second republic, an Igbo man also occupied the coveted position of Central Bank Governor between 1993 and 1999. And since the return to democracy in 1999, key positions in the central government have been subjected to ethnic rotation, at times to the detriment of national development. Finally, the fact that the current President is from the pre-civil war Easter Region should be the end to the argument of Igbo marginalisation. Even within the Igbo constituency, there are cries of marginalisation; senatorial districts within states complain of marginalisation while districts within towns and local governments also cry of marginalisation. It must however be noted that this is a general slogan in Nigeria, not peculiar to the Igbos anyway.


An Igbo President is desirable but must be based on competence

To prove that everybody in Nigeria regardless of ethnicity can be President, it is desirable to have an Igbo President. In addition, if truly Igbo people are determined to succeed and crave for excellence, such attributes in a leader is needed in Nigeria. However, Nigerians cannot rejoice on the prospect of an Igbo president because the current Igbo leaders have not shown the attributes that people are looking for. The determination to succeed and the crave for excellence are not obvious in these leaders. Rather than giving hope, their leadership style and accomplishments are a source of concern to the electorates. And unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this situation.

It now appears as if the Igbo man of Achebe’s description is utopian or probably pre-historic. However, one school of thoughts believes that the Achebe’s Igbo man is not a politician; hence he cannot be found in any government house yet. But whatever the case, Igbo presidency should be based on competence and not politics. The Ndigbo should present a Presidential candidate that Nigerians and even the world cannot reject.